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Blizzard cancels BlizzConline 2022, ponders future of event

BlizzConline 2022 is no longer happening and it looks like Blizzard is unsure of the event's future, period.


There's no nice way to put this. This has been a rotten year for Blizzard Entertainment in many ways. Once considered a shining beacon in the world of game development, there's now a dark cloud that hangs over its name and it's unknown whether it will ever fully clear up. BlizzConline 2022 was originally scheduled for February, which would have been held in the presence of several elephants in the room. However, the company is not only canceling this event, it's rethinking how BlizzCon will even look in the future.

Here's the full post from the Blizzard website:

To the Blizzard community,

We’ve decided to take a step back and pause on planning the previously announced BlizzConline event scheduled for early next year. This was a tough decision for all of us to make, but it’s the right one.

Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen, an entire-company effort, fueled by our desire to share what we create with the community we care about so much. At this time, we feel the energy it would take to put on a show like this is best directed towards supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.

Additionally, we would also like to take the time to reimagine what a BlizzCon event of the future could look like. The first BlizzCon was held 16 years ago, and so much has changed in the time since—most notably, the multiple ways in which players and communities can come together and feel like they are a part of something bigger. Whatever the event looks like in the future, we also need to ensure that it feels as safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible. We’re committed to continual communication with our players, and we see BlizzCon playing a big role in that going forward. We’re excited about what we’ll do with the event when we revisit it in the future.

One more thing we wanted to make clear: even though we aren’t holding BlizzConline in February, we’ll still be making announcements and updates for our games. We’re proud of our teams and the progress they’ve made across our games. We have a lot of exciting upcoming news and releases to share with you. You’ll continue hearing about those through our franchise channels, with the talented people on the BlizzCon team playing a part in supporting these efforts.

We’ll miss seeing you, but don’t worry. We’ll be back together soon.

There's a lot to unpack in this statement. For one thing, it's a reasonable assumption that the toxic culture revelations, which have led to an ongoing lawsuit from the state of California, are a big factor in this decision to not only cancel BlizzConline for 2022, but also totally reevaluate how the event will operate in the future. Recall that the infamous "Cosby Suite" that was raised in many allegations originated from a hotel room during a BlizzCon event. This, among other allegations, has led to the dismissal of a number of Activision Blizzard employees, as well as the renaming of one Overwatch character.

The other main question to take away from this is, what would a future Blizzard event look like? Will it be a hybrid live show and online presentation, given how well BlizzConline 2021 worked out? Will the company insert Activision properties into what's always been a Blizzard-only affair? Would a new BlizzConline leave Anaheim for a new venue? Could Blizzard ultimately end the BlizzCon tradition entirely?

We'll be sure to follow this story in the weeks and months ahead. For more on Blizzard, the future of BlizzCon, the latest with the ongoing lawsuit from California, and everything else, keep it on Shacknews.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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